Google Display Targeting

Google Display Targeting

Get in front of the most prospective customers at minimal cost.

So, you’ve got a great brand, a unique value proposition, a clear and defined target audience and a strong business plan, but nobody knows about it. So now what?

Enter, Google Display Network (GDN).

Unlike Google Search, where people go looking for you, Google Display Network allows you to go looking for them.

GDN is the first pivotal step for advertisers to generate the desired initial interest and get in front of the most prospective customers at minimal cost.

According to Google, consumers spend 21% of their time searching online but the other 79% of the time spent online is outside ‘search’ and more so across websites, mobile, YouTube, and Gmail.

It’s no surprise that users are inundated with advertisements – relevance though –  is the key to unveiling and deriving customer interest.

Cultivating relevant advertisements not only lies within the conceptualisation and design, but within the correct targeting.

But, how does one target successfully without being too broad or getting to the point of  ‘no audience?’

How does one know which of the millions of targeting options to choose from?

How does one avoid targeting the readily available plethora of online users, without succumbing to the lamentable position of having them slip through their fingers, simply because they aren’t relevant?

It’s simple. Talk directly to them, and like in any conversation, you need a topic.

Topic Targeting

Essentially, this type of targeting is better for higher-volume accounts as it certainly narrows your audience by relevance but it isn’t necessarily ‘conversing’ with your potential customer. In layman’s terms Topic Targeting is like entering into a room of like-minded people and offering them water, but not all of them are thirsty; thus your conversions will be lower than the Google search side of the equation, as everyone searching for you is ‘thirsty’.

Keyword Targeting

Topic targeting is a good place to start, but Keyword Targeting is bound to get you more efficient results. Every webpage has been assigned a particular ‘theme’ by Google. This theme is depicted by Google, based on 3 types of Keywords:

Brand Keywords: When a company or brand bids on their own name.

Competitor Keywords: When a company or brand inserts themselves into the ‘conversations’ where their competitor is being discussed.

Non-Brand Keywords: Terms related to your products or services – much like Google Search Ads

Managed Placement Targeting

Placement targeting is all about understanding your client. Cookies can tell us their habits, clicks can tell us their predilections and conversions can tell us their desires. But once again, you need data. The best place to start is to run a campaign without enabling automatic placements and then look into which sites your ads are placed on. If it didn’t perform well on this site, exclude it from your placements. This process is time-consuming but it does help with the process of elimination. Of course, this tactic is only helpful if you don’t have data. If you do, well you’re yet another step closer. You can then choose which sites you want your ad to be displayed on. You are also able to make use of GDN’s site category exclusions, allowing you to exclude error pages, parked domains, below-the-fold and suggestive pages. This not only protects the integrity of your organisation, but also saves budget for placements chosen slightly more assiduously.

Behavioural Targeting

Although Google needs some kind of data to be able to target the interests and behaviour of potential customers, Behavioural Targeting makes use of audiences (In-Market & Affinity) to narrow the focus and adjust the digital scope to be that much more accurate. It’s advisable to merge Topic and Interest targeting here by including at least one interest per ad group with a set of similar topics; allowing a better chance of hitting the ‘bull’s-eye’ when ‘throwing your digital dart’.


Retargeting is a behavioural form of targeting that allows you to connect with users who have previously interacted with your website or page. It allows you to strategically position your ads in front of these audiences as they browse Google; thus offering you the opportunity to increase your brand awareness or stay remembered.

Contextual Targeting

Contextual targeting is used to match keyword-targeted ads (also referred to as automatic placements) – advertisers tend to prefer this targeting as it tends to be performance focused and ultimately provides cost-effective conversions due to the somewhat ‘utilitarian’ keywords that lure consumers based on interest and relevance.

Demographic & Geographic Targeting

Demographic Targeting allows us to know the target audience more ‘intimately’. This data helps us identify their Location, Gender, their Age and their Parental Status and more. This allows us to segment ad groups for a more effective way of communicating and pin-point a specific message to a group of people of whom fit within this category.

Now that we have briefly touched on each option, it’s time to look a little further into Pandora’s Box and talk about budget and (a term you are most likely familiar with) auctions.


When it comes to the GDN, you are able to decide how much you want to pay to display your advert (bid). When ad space becomes available, your bid is compared to that of your competitors and the party with the highest bid wins the space and their ad is displayed. However, once the auction is complete, the winning price is in fact adjusted to the lowest amount needed to win the spot; ensuring you don’t overpay and providing you with peace of mind.

But which option is better? Target and Bid or Bid Only?

Target & Bid vs Bid Only

The innocent appeal of this is quite deceiving, as Google’s explanation can seem somewhat unclear.

Here’s why.

Many display campaigns orbit the never-ending desire for Brand Awareness, and thus, different targeting methods are experimented with, in order to see what engagement is achieved. However, when targeting methods are linked with Target and Bid, it means that all users must meet ALL targeting requirements and sometimes this seems to result in such a narrow result that you end up marketing to ‘no audience.”

However, ‘Bid Only’ is too broad. The best thing to do is to marry the two. Work smart, not hard. When you decide to marry the two, you result in a layered form of targeting; allowing you a more granular and relevant result for your money.

Contact TNNG to get your business on Google Display Network.